10 min czytania 15 June 2023

Difficult boss – how to deal with them?

In our working lives we all have a boss. Unfortunately, he or she is not always easy to work with. An employer who makes work difficult can introduce a lot of negative emotions such as frustration, anger and insecurity. However, there is no need to quit your job just because your boss is difficult. In this article, we outline some ways to deal with a difficult boss.

difficult boss


A difficult boss, or what kind of boss?

One of the more common reasons why people leave their jobs is poor management of people. A boss with whom it is impossible to get along, who constantly controls us, demands too much and is difficult to like. Often, this is what makes us lose motivation to work. We all know that there are no perfect people – the same goes for bosses or employees. An employer should not force us to work overtime, constantly criticise or bully us. So it’s worth familiarising ourselves with the Labour Code, knowing our rights – that way we’ll never be taken advantage of.

A difficult boss does not support us, is not open to the opinions of others, does not listen to the opinions of employees, hides important facts for the company. A good leader should take care of proper communication in the company. Without it, the whole company may not function. The boss should build a positive atmosphere with his team, based on honesty and a good flow of information. Employees need to be supported in what they do, given feedback, asked if they understand their tasks. The lack of a structured communication structure can lead to project failures, conflicts and undesirable situations that will affect the company’s image.

A difficult boss does not pay attention to others, does not give employees space to work. A true leader gives them some freedom, autonomy and room to operate. Essential in leading a team is trust in one’s employees. Nobody likes to be constantly tested. There can be uncertainty in people, which will affect their work performance. An employer has the right to have a difficult conversation with anyone if it is really needed. However, a good boss will do this sensitively, drawing attention to something, using constructive criticism. A difficult boss can use unpleasant words, raise the tone or even ridicule. This type of boss can appear in any industry and in any position.

Read also: Seniority – what does it consist of?

What NOT to tell your employer?

In life, it is worth being an honest person who tells others what he or she thinks. After all, it’s not worth suppressing negative emotions. However, there are exceptions to this rule. In your relationship with your boss, it pays to be careful with your words, especially if you are dealing with a difficult boss. They can have a negative impact on further career development in the current workplace. If our boss is one of the difficult ones, it can sometimes be difficult to stay calm. However, it is advisable not to let our emotions carry us away.

What to look out for and what phrases not to say in the presence of the boss?

  • Nobody is paying me for this
  • And what do I get out of it
  • I have no time
  • I can get more from the competition
  • They don’t pay me enough to do it
  • I do not like my job
  • It was better in my previous job
  • It’s Ola’s fault, not mine
  • Because I will get fired
  • Can I leave early because I have nothing to do
  • I’ve done everything I can
  • It’s not my company, so I won’t make such sacrifices
  • This idea is wrong

Difficult boss – how to deal with them?

The relationship with the boss will always be formal, even if we have a good relationship with him or her. This means that when we are hit by bad behaviour from the boss, we should respond calmly by giving him or her our point of view. Responding with anger, will not fix the problem, but will make it worse. A difficult boss can be extremely disruptive and bad for our willingness to work. So how do we deal with a difficult boss?

Trying to understand – the source of the problem

The first step to dealing with a difficult boss is to try to understand what is causing their behaviour. Often bosses are under pressure and have to meet the expectations of management or clients, which can cause stress and frustration. It is also possible that a difficult boss has personal problems, which can affect his behaviour at work. Try to understand the cause of his or her difficulties and think about how you can help. Think about the root of the problem, or ask directly if he or she is OK.

Think about yourself

If the conversation doesn’t work and our boss continues to be difficult to communicate with, it’s best to focus on ourselves and our approach to the situation. It is worth remembering that we cannot change our supervisor’s behaviour, but we can change our approach to him or her. In case you find yourself in a difficult situation, tell him or her about it. Even if he or she is a difficult boss, he or she is also human – he or she will understand many things.

Be prepared

It is a good idea to prepare for any extended conversation with a difficult boss. If you know your boss and know how he reacts, you can anticipate his behaviour. Prepare yourself with the right arguments, try to stay composed. Don’t attack your boss, but don’t let yourself get in his head either.

Behave professionally

Do your job as you should. If you feel your boss should be happy with you, tell him or her that you deserve better treatment. Be confident in yourself and your successes. Don’t be late for work, pay close attention to your tasks and accuracy. If your boss doesn’t hold anything against you, he may have a different attitude towards you. Pay attention to the little things and your employer will have no reason to make unkind remarks.


To avoid misunderstandings, it is a good idea to have good communication with your boss. If you are unsure about something or don’t know how you should do something – just ask. A difficult boss can have his humour, but for the good of the company he should give you answers. After all, you are asking to avoid unnecessary mistakes.

Don’t let it affect you

Remember that if your boss’s behaviour is inappropriate – you have the right to express your opinion and how you feel. Everyone has rights, no one should be bullied or oppressed at work. Don’t let this behaviour negatively affect your work and your attitude towards yourself. Your mental health is more important. No one should insult, blackmail or threaten another person, even if they are not in the mood.

Read also: Sobriety checks at work


Boss personality types

Different boss personality types can be found in workplaces. It all depends on their character and lifestyle. Everyone is different and has their own personality traits, but you can see certain patterns in bosses. The personality type of a boss depends a lot on how they were brought up, the environment they were in and the people they surround themselves with. What type of boss can be found in the workplace?

Friendly boss

He tries to build positive relationships with his employees. He often organises team-building events and makes each employee feel important in the company. He engages his team and tries to inspire creativity in them.

Spirit boss

This is an employer who can never be seen or heard. He is only interested in the company from a distance. He only wants to see the results and not the way of working.

Controller boss

A person who has no confidence in his employees, constantly controlling and checking them. Wants to have reports done on even the smallest tasks. The team does not have the possibility to work independently, they constantly have to ask the boss about everything.

Selfish boss

This is a difficult type of boss for people who rely on cooperation. He prefers to work alone and thinks only of himself. He takes credit for others, not caring if anyone feels left out.

Head teacher

This is a person who is willing to help others, has a lot of knowledge and shares it. Supports everyone and gives a lot of motivation to work.

Difficult boss

A person who does not respect our opinion. Constantly controls us, insults us, criticises us.

It is important to remember that everyone is different. People who are more sensitive may be very concerned about their difficult boss. In turn, he or she may take advantage of more sensitive employees and step on their heads. Be aware that this can backfire on people. Working with such a person can result in loss of motivation to work, burnout or even anxiety disorders. If you are dealing with an aggressive boss who causes you problems at work, it may be worth changing jobs. In severe cases, it is important to remember that bullying is subject to a fine and should be reported.

Check also: Conflicts at work – how to deal with them?